This thread is mostly geared to our european mebers (as model ranges may differ vastly on both sides of the atlantic).
I need summer tyres for the Supreme Army Command. She has just earned her driving license and not a lot of experience yet, so I do not want to compromise grip, especially in the wet. Sporty handling and lap times, however, are NOT what is needed. (It's a GM-900 on a GM-Platform. Which means there is no precision and crispness in the steering she could loose, anyways... There is no handling to compromise, it just is a standard FWD car, that is NOT worthy of the name 900 in this regard.) Nor is supreme durability - she is going to drive no more than 15.000km per year, at most 10.000 of which whill be on summer tyres, so any tyre will age out before wearing out anyways.
Obligatory attention-grabbing picture (of the car, not the wife):
Her GM-SAAB needs 205/50
R16. So far, so uncommon. But she also needs speed index "W".
That narrows the choice down considerably. No Michelin in this size (which might not be the right choice anyways, considering my focus on wet performance and that mileage is not mportant at all), and Dunlop's and Contimental's only offerings are decades old designs.
That leaves us with Nokian z-line, Uniroyal Rain Sport 3, and several other second and third tier brands of Conti and Goodyear. And, from Korea, Nexen.
I have no experience of the RS3, but have driven several other Uniroyal
before on both my former w123 and my current 900
900, and if the RS 3 leans in their direction, it might be worth a try.
I have had one set of summer Nokians on my 900 some years ago, and it was ok. Nothing outstanding, but not bad either.
The Semperit Speed Life are also an ancient design, and I have twice only very narrowly escaped a membership of the Bongard Club on those (early morning, a little moist spot on otherwise dry asphalt at Flugplatz and the second at Wippermann). Wet performance of these was nonexistent, but granted, these tyres were already 5 years old with narrow tread.
I have experienced Nexen on an ADAC rental VW Golf
and on a friend's RX-8
and was positively surprised in both cases. On the Golf, the tyre was completely inconspicious - really no bad surprises at all, and good wet performance. On the RX-8, again, unexpectedly competent in the rain, but the guy reported they wore like a pecil eraser. Which is, fast. Very fast. But then, he used the RX-8r as intended by the designers, and we have established that in my case long tread life is not important.
Unfortunately, I cannot remember the specific model designations, and Nexens lineup is a bit confusing - N800, N'fera01, N'fera04, N'blue ... I really don't know which of these was ok. This is important, because one of these has a reputation for no wet grip at all.
Has anybody experience with the other 2nd/3rd tier brands? Sava/Debica, Gislaved, General?
I tend to lean towards the Uniroyal, but is is by far the most expensive (if we rule out Conti and Dunlop, whose offerngs are ~15year old designs. They were great in their time, but are probably not worth the premium now.)